Alan the Great Yarmouth heron is on the mend after airgun attack
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016
For years, he has been a familiar presence at Great Yarmouth's historic seafront waterways, popular among visitors and locals who fondly named him Alan.
So when this grey heron disappeared from the attraction, many feared the worst. He later turned up at nearby park, apparently injured, and was taken to a wildlife rescue centre, where he was found to be suffering from two airgun injuries.
He is now recovering at the centre, but there are doubts over whether he will ever be able to fly again, or return to his old haunts at the waterways.
David Carr, 29, founder of Wild Touch wildlife rescue service, at Rollesby, said he was called to Beaconsfield Park, just inland from the waterways, where he found Alan in a bad way.
'He was distressed and in shock and bleeding quite badly,' he said. 'The wounds were very fresh when we got there.'
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One air pellet had gone straight through Alan's jaw, and a second had damaged his wing.
Mr Carr took him to the centre where he cleaned up the wounds and gave him painkillers.
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'He's much better already,' he said. 'He's eating nicely, he's alert and climbing up on branches in the aviary, he's much more settled.'
While the heron's wing fractures are healing well, Mr Carr said there was damage to the joint and Alan would need physiotherapy to regain the strength to fly.
If he does not progress well enough at Wild Touch, he will move to the RSPCA wildlife centre at East Winch.
Alan is one of a pair of herons who live at Yarmouth's Venetian Waterways, with its winding rivers for gondolas, paths through rock gardens, picturesque bridges over the water, and thatched shelters.
He was found injured on April 29.
Grey herons are protected by law and Mr Carr said he had referred the matter to police, who are investigating.
If you know of an injured wild animal in East Norfolk you can report it to Wild Touch on 07765 345441.